Outsider Art

Gewächse der Seele – Floral Fantasies between Symbolism and Outsider Art

31 March to 4 August 2019

An interdisciplinary and inclusive collaborative project

Outsider Art

Gewächse der Seele – Floral Fantasies between Symbolism and Outsider Art

31 March to 4 August 2019

The Wilhelm-Hack-Museum in Ludwigshafen, the Prinzhorn Collection in Heidelberg, zeitraumexit in Mannheim, together with Galerie Alte Turnhalle in Bad Dürkheim and Museum Haus Cajeth in Heidelberg, will be illustrating the significance of plants as projections of mental states in a variety of contexts. The fascination encountered in outsider art with plants, plant-like beings, plant personalities and plant-animal hybrids continues to occupy a broad spectrum even today. These artistic manifestations of vegetal life can be enjoyed in the form of exhibitions, installations, performance, dance and theatre. Outsider art is a term applied to art created outside the art market and independently of art history by people with mental disorders or as a result of spiritual practice. Because of their untrained originality, these works held out a particular appeal to Symbolists and Surrealists in the early twentieth century.

The Wilhelm-Hack-Museum and the Prinzhorn Collection will pesent the historical roots to the theme. The Ludwigshafen chapter of the exhibition will be a comprehensive show, the first of its kind, where works with an affinity to Symbolism or Surrealism are juxtaposed with works conceived outside the world of mainstream art. The selection highlights the role played by Symbolism and Surrealism as a threshold to the discovery of mediumistic art and the “artistry of the mentally ill”. At the same time, this exhibition challenges the rigid boundary between established and outsider art, signalling fluid transitions between art produced under very dissimilar conditions. The Prinzhorn Collection is exhibiting a multifarious assortment of plant motifs from its own holdings.

Under the title Primitive Art in the 20th Century, Museum Haus Cajeth has merged works from its own collection. Galerie Alte Turnhalle has focused on the significance of plants in drawings by contemporary artists with learning difficulties or mental disorders. Both Museum Haus Cajeth and Galerie Alte Turnhalle will feature new works from the Italian Atelier dell’Errore in Reggio Emilia.

zeitraumexit is hosting a variety of performances on the theme – with the Austrian choreographer and performance artist Doris Uhlich, for example, and a new production by Thikwa, the inclusive theatre company from Berlin, working together with the performance artist Martin Clausen. Other performative interventions by will function as links between each of the venues and the project as a whole. Scenic tableaus, music, movement, voice and elements of theatre blend here to create an unconventional aesthetic experience.

Gewächse der Seele 
Floral Fantasies between Symbolism and Outsider Art

31 March to 4 August 2019
Opening: Sunday, 31 March, 11 am, at the Wilhelm Hack Museum
Berliner Straße 23, 67059 Ludwigshafen am Rhein
followed by a shuttle service to all participating venues



Press material

Press accreditation

We cordially invite you and your colleagues to a press breakfast and project presentation on

Friday, 1 February 2019, 11 am at the Wilhelm Hack Museum, Berliner Strasse 23, Ludwigshafen.


Press photos

  • Séraphine Louis, Grappes de Raisin ca. 1930, Öl auf Leinwand, 146 x 114 cm, Private Collection; Courtesy Galerie Dina Vierny, Paris
  • Georgiana Houghton, The Risen Lord, 1864, Wasserfarbe und Gouache auf Papier auf Holz aufgezogen, 23,7 x 32,6 cm, Victorian Spiritualists‘ Union inc., Melbourne, Australia
  • Barbara Honywood, Album Page XII, 1864, Aquarellfarbe und Tinte auf papier, 36,2 x 25,7 cm, Bethlem Museum of the Mind, London
  • Performance-Programm zeitraumexit:
    Foto: Peter Empl, 2018